MPs grill Molale on Matsha probe


Presidential Affairs and Public Administration minister, Eric Molale found himself in the line of fire in Parliament yesterday, as legislators grilled him on the exact whereabouts of a government policy that bars the use of trucks to transport students.

Molale yesterday briefed Parliament on the Matsha College disaster in which seven students lost their lives and scores of others were hospitalised with varying degrees of injuries after a truck overturned.

Following Molale’s briefing, Selebi-Phikwe West legislator, Dithapelo Keorapetse, asked the minister in what form the policy is in, adding that it was commonplace that students around the country were transported in trucks.

Gabane/Mmankgodi and Gaborone Central legislators, Pius Mokgware and Phenyo Butale equally piled pressure on Molale to state exactly where the policy was located, but in vain.

“All you have to know is that the policy is there, former Education Ministers (Jacob) Nkate and (Keletso) Rakhudu have spoken about it in Parliament,” Molale said. “It is government policy that students should not be transported in trucks but buses except where terrains do not allow. Where there are no buses, there are funds reserved for hiring private buses to transport students.”

Molale said investigations that were ongoing would reveal why the students were transported using a truck.

Nata Gweta Member of Parliament, Polsen Majaga, asked why better arrangements had not been made for the students as authorities knew in advance that schools would close. Molale, however, said investigations would reveal the answer.

In a separate interview, Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions secretary general, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa, said no policy on transportation of learners existed, as all government policies are documented.

“It is national practice that students are transported in trucks,” he said. “Now they want to shift the blame to employees. There is no policy intervention to stop it.”

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for Molepolole North, Mohammed Khan, said more lives could have been saved had medical personnel responded quicker to the accident.

“The first ambulance arrived at 1600hrs and the helicopter arrived at 1800hrs,” Khan said. “Some lost lives could have been saved had we had better coordination.”

In his brief, Molale told Parliament that investigations into the accident were ongoing to find out why a truck was used when government policy is to use a bus.

“The investigation will leave no stone unturned,” he said.

Molale also told Parliament that government was providing accommodation for parents, basic amenities to affected students and would cover the funeral expenses of the affected families. He said government was providing psycho-social support to all the affected parents.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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